A memorable ride in style and safety
I CANNOT remember the last time I went on a road trip. But what I do recall, vividly, is this: I was in a hatchback. I do think that the more horrible your ride, the more you are going to forget about the sho’t left you have undertaken.
I didn’t quite enjoy the drive, because I felt the car didn’t handle the terrain well. I said to myself – the next time I tackle mountainous places, I’d better be in a bakkie or SUV. Lo and behold – 2018 is here, and the universe does conspire and give you what you want.
I got to drive to Graskop, Mpumalanga, in the new compact SUV, Ford Ecosport, 1.0 Auto Titanium. You could think of the many cars in its segment that could make you forget about it when you go shopping for a compact SUV.
Think of the Toyota C-HR, Renault Capture, the Mazda CX-3.
However, driving it will make you think that it is the only car worth buying in this segment. I also read that it ranks as one of the safest cars in its segment and I can attest to its safety on the road.
I think it’s one thing to be told that a car has seven airbags as was the case with the model I was driving. It’s a different story when you feel safe while you drive.
I felt safe as I was doing the twisting and turning around Ehlanzeni in the God’s Window area. This vehicle had a very firm grip of the tarred road on the way to Misty Mountain around Sabie and Lydenburg, and the road required some more zigzagging.
However, I wasn’t particularly happy with the luggage space. If it was not a trip for two but a family with two kids (one being a toddler), we wouldn’t have had enough space in the boot, which offers a maximum of 334 litres.
Although there is a two-tier system where the bay floor can be raised to put other things underneath, I was still not impressed with the space. It’s just too little.
Perhaps the next model should have a deeper boot, considering that the spare wheel is not underneath the boot. On the bright side, the spare wheel of this compact car is bolted to the tailgate. You don’t have to kneel down to find it, and it is a full-sized wheel.
As far as luggage space is concerned, I guess this also makes sense in respect of the car’s target market. It is a car that Ford has made for young families. I suggest you don’t promise your parents or friends who are as big as me (1.89m tall and just above 100kg) a road trip in the back of your Ecosport. Most likely they won’t enjoy the journey at all.
But it’s a comfortable car when you’re behind the wheel.
I was happy to get 5.8 litres per 100km. Let’s get real – petrol is a luxury for people like me. The better the fuel consumption, the happier we are.
The road to Graskop is full of trucks. The 1-litre turbo engine is an award-winning engine, and had enough power to push when there was a need to move faster. The 92kw and 170 Nm of torque deliver.
I thank the gods of Ford who introduced us to the Ecosport in 2013. It surely feels like a car that has been part of our roads for more than five years. I may have forgotten the last road trip I had before this one, but I’m certain that even if you ask me 10 or 15 years from now about one of my most memorable road trips, I’ll remember the time I spent with the Ecosport, in which I went further and further into the mountains of Mpumalanga, and enjoyed the beautiful vegetation of the area.
A full-size spare wheel is mounted on the rear door.